Writing for public consumption is a new gig for me. It’s an exciting adventure now, but in the beginning it was nothing short of intimidating. I tend to write about personal experiences, so the intimidation level was higher than say, writing about a tree. I’ve enjoyed writing since grade school. My first composition was about Casper the ghost – a cartoon figure from the 1960’s. I debated how not all ghosts are scary, and the benefits of having a ghost as a friend. I felt my first connection to the written word. My teacher was visibly impressed and gave me a top score. I felt pride about my schoolwork for the first time, and a seed was planted.
I always enjoyed writing letters (I was living in the cavewoman days of no email and long-distance phone charges) to my aunts, grandparents, and friends. Their feedback was all about how much they enjoyed my writing because I was descriptive. I wanted them to feel like they were a part of my experience. I was encouraged by their praise and wrote many letters over the years.
There came a time in my life when I couldn’t communicate with my father because he’d be in a rage. I learned to write to him on a level that he could hear me. I’d write to him about how he affected me and what it was I needed. It was therapeutic and cathartic for me as I learned how to express on paper what I couldn’t verbally. It came out clearly and precisely. My heart and soul flowed from my heart through my pen. You never know where your gifts will come from. I’m not claiming to be a gifted writer, but rather the writing gifted me with honest expression.
I wanted to see if I had the potential to be a “writer”, so I joined an informal writing class. I thought that I needed some basics – punctuation, plot formation, etc., and I wanted to see if I had the teeth to produce something worth reading. I got so bogged down in details and critique that, with the exception of emails, I didn’t write again until Lisa invited me to do the Instagram weekly takeover. It wasn’t that it was a bad class – it wasn’t what I needed at the time. I wanted to know if my writing was relatable and worth pursuing. I believe it’s important to listen to those inner instincts, and to make an effort to find the best starting point for each individual. We’re all at different points on the trajectory of creativity.
I’ve written a few blogs for this site now, and am realizing how quickly my writing well can dry up, so I’m trying a new approach. I borrowed a book from the library called “The Right to Write” by Julia Cameron. You know something’s really, really good when it completely absorbs you (meals get missed, grooming takes a backseat and relationships get abandoned), and speaks a truth directed to your soul. I’m eager to do the suggested exercises, and I’m taking copious notes. It’s the first time in my life that I’m finding homework fun.
I’m learning that the object is not to be a “writer” but to “listen to the page“.
I engaged the exercise of writing three full pages freehand, and had some insightful thoughts pop up —
- I’m bored of my perception of my memories, and need to reframe them, so I re-wrote a childhood memory, and found a new voice –
- I need to utilize a thesaurus to mine for fun and descriptive new words –
- I overthink –
- need to pause between thoughts, and to focus on one word at a time.
I wondered why I’ve been mixing up letters while handwriting so much lately, and tended to put it down to aging, but doing this exercise brought to mind that my mind races most of the time, so I’m not present and focused, and that was a revelation – listen to the page. I learned that I can start anywhere – I don’t need to have a point to begin. This book is all about a “no pressure” approach to the page. I also understood on a new level that GOD is in the details.
If you have something plaguing you, or some drama in your life, why not write it down and transform it, or write it out of your life? You’ll be surprised and amazed by what insights, demons, and emotions are lurking inside of you if you don’t hold back. You’re thinking it anyways, whether you know it or not – might as well know it intimately, and set yourself free. We’re all full of experiences, so there’s no end of material.